Key Terms: Backward Design

Think of it as pedagogy’s way of rephrasing Lenin’s maxim, “The end determines the means.” With much more positive results. Rather than start with the means – lectures, textbooks, exams, and the rest – Backward Design begins at the end. What should students learn? What should they know or be able to do? These questions…

Students Teaching Teachers Part II

At last week’s Bok Center Fall Teaching Conference, five rising juniors and seniors participated in a panel discussion about teaching at Harvard. We’ve already shared one revelation that came out of the panel. Among the many other insightful gems they offered were several that fall under the following rubric: Be clear. What are your standards…

Links for a New Semester

A new semester is upon us, and with it, an opportunity to step back and reflect on your broader pedagogical goals before you dive into the day-to-day concerns of teaching. Two defenses of the liberal arts provide food for thought: Harvard Professor Louis Menand, reviewing Academically Adrift and In the Basement of the Ivory Tower…

Turning the Tables: Students Teaching Teachers

When you’re looking to improve your teaching, the first resources you might turn to are other teachers, pedagogical scholarship, or the Bok Center (hint, hint!). But what about the people who have the largest stake in your ability to teach successfully – the students? After all, students generally have more (and more current) section and…

On Teaching, Sailing, and Swimming

Today’s guest post comes from Suzanne Smith, who teaches in the History and Literature Department. …whether one falls into a little swimming pool or into the middle of the biggest sea, one nevertheless swims all the same.  – Plato, Republic 453d Throughout Plato’s Republic, Socrates provides us with an opportunity to think about images, figures, and metaphors associated with…

Day 1 of the FTC

We wrapped up Day 1 of the Fall Teaching Conference just an hour or so ago, during which we discussed the “Fundamentals of Teaching” in the three divisions, heard an inspiring talk from Mike Smith about becoming part of Harvard’s “Community of Teachers,” and witnessed a panel of experienced Gen Ed TFs give thoughts on…

Announcing the Bok Center Teaching Certificate Program

The Bok Center is pleased to introduce the Teaching Certificate Program for graduate students across FAS. Building on the existing workshops, seminars, and teaching practicums offered through the Bok Center, the Teaching Certificate offers graduate students and teaching fellows a tangible marker of their ongoing development as teachers in higher education. The Certificate is structured…